Friday, January 27, 2012

10 Ways to Explore Nature In the Winter

I don't know about you, but winter is always the hardest season for me to come up with ideas to get us outside and exploring nature. So, with that in mind, I did some searching and came up with 10 fun kids activities to help us get out and explore nature in the winter.

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1. Feed the birds. Use existing bird feeders or make your own, like our simple bird feeders. Put the bird feeders close to a window and provide small notebooks, binoculars and a bird book. See what kind of birds live in your neighborhood in the winter. (*Special note: if you do decide to feed the birds, please continue to feed them until spring comes and they are able to find their own food.)

2. Explore ice. What are its properties? When does it melt? Try to break it. Mama Smiles recently spent some time exploring ice. Check out all the fun they had!

3. Learn to read an outdoor thermometer and check the temperature outside. Use the opportunity to learn a little about weather and the characteristics of winter in your area.

4. Learn about snowflakes. Look at them up close with a magnifying glass. What do you see? Teach Preschool shows you how to catch snowflakes on black paper so you can examine them up close.

5. Explore rocks. It doesn't matter whether it is winter, spring, summer, or fall, rocks are always in abundance. Have fun exploring and learning about rocks. Or, you can do like Kitchen Counter Chronicles and make rock art.

6. Look for signs of life. Winter is the time of year when many plants are dormant. But, not everything! Go exploring and see if you can find any signs of life. If you need inspiration, Rainy Day Mum recently went searching for fairy homes (aka mushrooms).

7. Give your kids a camera and see what they can find. Go on a photo walk with your kids. What do you notice? See the beauty in the details. Here are some great tips from Peanut Blossom for going on a photo walk

8. Read a book about winter animals and look for signs of wildlife. Try finding foot prints near a wooded area. Learn about which animals hibernate and which ones need to forage for food in the winter. Animals in Winter (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science) by Henrietta Bancroft is a great resource for this activity.

9. Bring it inside. If it's too cold to go outside and explore, bring some nature indoors. Set up a nature table with all the nature treasures you've collected throughout the year. Or, you can do like Mama Smiles did and bring some snow indoors to play. You don't always have to be outside to explore nature!

10. Make art. Get creative. Use the natural items that you find and make beautiful art. The Chocolate Muffin Tree made this beautiful snowy land art for Valentine's Day.

Bonus activity: PLAY! Throw snowballs, make a snow angel, collect sticks, and most of all have fun!

How do you like to explore nature in the winter?

For more winter kids activities, please follow my Winter Fun Pinterest board:

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  1. LOVE this ost! it can be very difficult to think of fun and creative things to do outdoors in the winter. thanks I am a new follower :-)

  2. That snowy land art is so pretty!!!

    Thanks for including our winter play posts - I'm honored to be included in such a wonderful line-up of activities!

  3. Thank you for featuring us and another great list!

  4. This is great! We are trying to spend at least 15 minutes outside each day. You gave us some great ideas. I'd love for you to link up and share on my outdoor play link party:

  5. All ten are fabulous ideas! I love your round ups. R loves being outside regardless of weather, so it's more like motivation for me :) Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a great round up I NEED some snow here J is missing out on so much winter fun without it. Thank you for including us in the round up


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